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DIY Bee Bath: Hydration Station for Bees

Do you want to make sure your garden is blooming to its max capacity this season? Ensure your flora are all being pollinated by creating an environment where bees want to and CAN visit while on their journey for nectar. It takes more than just flowers to draw bees in. You need to give them a reason to stay and linger long enough so they don’t overlook your many flowers. Having flowers and nectar for bees to consume is essential to attracting them, but an often overlooked necessity for bees is water.

Yes- bees need water! Not sure how bees drink? Check out this video here to watch how they hydrate using their tongue-like structure. Instead of lapping up water and nectar the way dogs and cats do, bees suck it up like a straw. This ability to suck up not only water, but also nectar is far more complicated than it may sound. The viscosity of water and syrupy nectar are completely different. They require different adaptions to consume both different types of liquids. In fact, bees “tongues”have been likened to a Swiss army knife by one scientist for how versatile they are and how they are able to pick up so many different viscosities, all at the same time. Read more about bee studies and how bees are able to go from one drinking mode to another in the article “A Honeybee’s Tongue is More Swiss Army Knife Than Ladle” from the New York Times.

You can create your own DIY Bee Bath for bees to rest and rehydrate using just 2 materials: a bird feeder and pebbles. This is a great craft for those who have an old bird bath they want to revamp or those looking to add some decorations and life to their yard. If you don’t have a bird feeder already, head to your local thrift or garden store. Look for a bird bath that’s not too deep but deep enough where pebbles can be added without spilling out. Your pick as to whether it is tall or short, but we recommend you buy this based off of the flowers you have at home. If you have tall flowers, pick a bird feeder that is a bit closer in height to where the buds bloom from. If you have shorter stemmed flowers, choose a bird bath that is lower to ground. Most importantly, pick one you like and one that you feel matches your garden space. We’ve linked some inspiration for you here.

Choose a spot for your bee bath and place your bird bath accordingly. Fill the bird bath with pebbles so that the bottom is covered, but you can play around with this too. If you want a more busy looking bath, add more pebbles. If you want something more minimalistic looking, add just a few big rocks. If you don’t want pebbles, you can add marbles or any other non-toxic, waterproof material that a bee can perch on and reach water from. Next, slowly add water to the bird feeder. Don’t add too much water. Fill with water until the bottom of the pebbles are just submerged. You need to make sure there is large enough dry areas for bees to easily land but you also want to make sure the water is high enough where the bees can reach it. If you don’t have flowers planted yet, plant them! Before you break ground, look at your bird bath and note how much shadow it casts, where it casts it, and when. In the areas that are dominated by shade most of the day, plant flowers that don’t need as much sunlight and vice versa.

Materials:

1 Bird bath (new or reused)

Pebbles, marbles, rocks, etc.

Water

Flowers

Directions:

  1. Position bird bath outside
  2. Fill with pebbles, rocks, marbles, etc.
  3. Add water, leaving dry spots for bees to land
  4. Plant flowers nearby

Just like that, you have created an oasis for all your weary bee travelers to rest and relax in between their long trek from your garden to their hive. Keep on eye on the water levels in your bath and enjoy the sight of new bees in your yard!

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Gold Rush Cocktail

The Gold Rush cocktail is as simple as it gets. It just needs three ingredients: bourbon, honey simple syrup, and lemon. This cocktail resembles a whiskey sour, except it takes honey simple instead of regular.  There’s also no egg white in a Gold Rush, meaning it’s smoother and less fizzy. Don’t be mistaken, using bourbon instead of whiskey along with the addition of honey truly transforms this cocktail, giving it a taste different from a sour.

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What is Swarming and Why Bees Do it

 
 
Have you ever seen the wondrous sight of bees, tightly grouped around each other in a giant pile wrapped around a tree branch or other mechanism that exists outside of the hive? Do not fret and do not call an exterminator! These insects are able to sting, but will only do so when disturbed. The swarm you see might look scary, but these bees are not interested in you or stinging you. In fact, they are far more busy trying to find a new home. That’s right- you just stumbled upon a colony of bees in the middle of a move!

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Honey as Treatment for Seasonal Allergies

 
 
It’s springtime, which means it’s also allergy season. Cue long months full of incessant sneezing, running out of tissue boxes, and a non-stop itchy nose. For some people, their allergies get worse every year and medication doesn’t always cure-all. Looking to add a homeopathic method to your allergy treatment regimen and help “stop the snot”, so to say, caused by mild allergies? This is where honey comes in- yes, honey. According to some, raw honey can be used to alleviate allergy symptoms.

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How Pollination Works

 
 
Like all living things, plants want to reproduce. Reproduction happens when a male fertilizes a female. Plants reproduce similarly by making seeds after being fertilized. In order for plants to make seeds, plants must first be pollinated. Pollination is the process by which the male part of a plant fertilizes the female part of another plant (of the same species). The male part of a plant produces pollen, which then must travel to the female part of another plant in order to fertilize it. Plants can’t pick up their feet and walk like other living animals. The male part of the plant relies on external forces to transfer the pollen to other plants, like bees.

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GLBC’s Makes News in the Detroit Free Press

 
 
The Detroit Free Press gave us a visit at Kropscott Farms last Saturday to write a story about us and our first bee pick-up day of 2021.  The article covers details about our pick-up event this year like who comes to pick up our bees and why. She also answers questions about the bees themselves including where the bees “vacation” during the Michigan winters and how important bees are for pollinating the crops of local farms.

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Co-Founder of GLBC Interviews with WGVU’s Radio Host Shelley Irwin

 
 
Co-Founder of GLBC and master beekeeper Genji Leclair interviewed on the radio with WGVU’s Morning Show host and producer Shelley Irwin. On Shelley’s segment, Genji talked everything bees. Genji explained how we repurpose honey and beeswax and even how pollination works. As a queen bee herself, Genji goes in depth about the science behind Queen Bees and then transitions to talking about our recent bee-pick-up event where beekeepers and farmers from around the Midwest come to pick-up new bees.

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Annual Bee Pick-Up Day

 

Beekeepers from all over the state came to pick up bees to add to their colonies during our annual bee pick-up days. The exact date of pick-up days differ every year, but they’re typically around May when the weather starts to get warmer in Michigan.  Around that time, we head down to Georgia to pick-up our bees, who vacation in the peach state for colony building in the winter months. Bees from GLBC also provide pollinating services in California. Continue reading Annual Bee Pick-Up Day

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Mint Julep Cocktail

 
 
Celebrate The Kentucky Derby this year with a sweet, little twist on the iconic Mint Julep cocktail. All the same ingredients, just with a dash of honey to enhance the flavors in the Kentucky bourbon. This age-old drink can be enjoyed anytime of the year, but definitely something you should make if you’re partaking in Derby festivities.

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